Counterpoint: Should seniors go to their AP classes after the AP exams?

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Kain Summerlin

Alice Chou, Opinions Editor Emerita

To most students, the point of taking an AP course is to prepare for the AP exam. It logically follows that the AP exam marks the end of the course. The policy that allows students to leave their AP classes after taking the exams is effective because students’ productivity levels reach an all-time low in the weeks that follow. Also, the time that students would be in AP classes is better used for students to complete their Senior Experience projects.

After AP exams, seniors should have the ability to relax from the testing schedule. Since the majority of a school’s AP curriculum is taught to prepare students for this exam, there is no other material left for the seniors to cover.

Though some AP teachers plan post-exam projects that are still educational, they are usually meant as fun activities to give students a break after the rigorous AP testing weeks. There is no reason for seniors to participate in these projects that have little to do with the actual curriculum of the class.

In an ideal situation, students would take advantage of these efforts to extend AP courses with enjoyable activities relevant to the course content. Unfortunately, the reality is that most students do not see the incentive to attend AP classes through the end of the school year because they view the AP exam as “the end.”

A year’s worth of note-taking, essays and practice tests culminates in a three-hour period of pain, which is considered the final task of the curriculum. After this, there is really no reason left to attend AP classes.

“Students work so hard in AP classes from September to May, and after the AP exams, there is no point in attending these classes anymore,” said senior Stella Kim.

Because the majority of students view the AP exams as the official conclusion of their AP courses, they lose much of the motivation that had driven them to work hard up until exams. Of course, this is frustrating for teachers. Education is a two-way street, and the creation of a positive learning environment requires the students’ desire to learn as well as the teachers’ desire to teach. With one of these elements severely lacking, it is almost impossible to accomplish anything productive.

Such is often the case in AP classes in the weeks after exams. Consequently, most teachers opt to show movies in class instead of extending the actual course or teaching additional material that might not have been included in the AP curriculum.

To ensure that seniors remain productive after AP exams, the administrators require that all seniors participate in a Senior Experience, a project in which students must invest at least sixty hours.

The purpose of the Senior Experience is twofold; it keeps seniors busy after AP exams while giving them exposure to a new kind of learning experience. Though seniors can begin this project in January, most choose to defer their hours and complete the entire Senior Experience after AP exams.

For the seniors who load their schedules with AP courses, fulfilling these hours during second semester can be challenging. If they choose to defer their hours, they are left with only a few weeks to do sixty hours of work. It only seems fair that seniors get permission to miss AP courses to dedicate time to the completion of their Senior Experience.

Granting students some time off during the weeks following AP exams seems like a fitting way to reward them for their extensive and consistent efforts throughout the year.

Not requiring seniors to attend AP classes is the best policy because of the students’ loss of motivation, which inhibits productivity in classes, and because seniors need time to complete their Senior Experience hours. This way, seniors can make the most of their last few weeks.